Retailers not catering for disabled customers now face prosecution under the Disability Discrimination Act.
The Act, which came into force on Friday, October 1, requires businesses to make reasonable adjustments to their premises, service provision and staff recruitment policies to make them accessible to disabled people.
To help retailers clarify what would constitute a reasonable adjustment, the British Retail Consortium and the Disability Rights Commission have produced a practical guide.
However many small businesses still expect the precise definition of reasonable to be defined by the courts and have adopted a wait and see policy, claimed Clenton Farquharson, a wheelchair user who carries out access audits for access consultancy Gallant.
He said: “The question I am asked more than anything is what is a reasonable adjustment? It can be expensive to build a ramp and if it’s not guaranteed that the law demands one, businesses will be unlikely to make the investment.”